The ultimate checklist for your digital marketing audit (2022)Nordic Morning logo

The ultimate checklist for your digital marketing audit (2022)

Author: Anatoliy Hoff

17/02/22

How can you transform the way you do marketing? Your marketing activities will be constantly challenged by new trends or inevitable change, which means two things for your marketing operations: keep up or lose out. In this blog, we’ll cut through the noise to explain the true power of the digital marketing audit and the impact it can have on your marketing performance.

Approaching a digital marketing audit

What is a marketing audit? Simply put, a marketing audit is an all-inclusive analysis and research deep dive into the marketing world of an organization. We’re talking about the essential marketing elements that appear throughout the entire internal and external journey, such as, goals, strategies, processes. These are ultimately the required contributors to boost your marketing performance.

It’s important to remember early on that this isn’t a one-off method. You may need to carry out multiple audits of your marketing journey during the year. Why? Because change never settles, and neither should your marketing efforts.

When approaching a digital marketing audit, think about the following three actions from both an internal and external marketing perspective:

  • Identify: current business goals, gaps in the user journey, on-going marketing activities, marketing channels
  • Gather: solid and relevant data (analytics) regarding your customer touchpoints
  • Create: meaningful dialog, actionable plans, more personalized experiences

When you’re confident that all bases of your overall marketing approach are covered, it’s time to zone in on the specific areas in your digital marketing audit that’ll really make a difference.

Identifying the right marketing components

Strategy

Let’s talk strategy. When it comes to auditing your marketing strategy, you’re primarily looking to align with your organization’s goals and objectives. Without a strategy, marketing has nowhere to go. No direction. No meaning. No purpose.

Take a step back, look at the overview of your organization’s vision and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How realistic are your goals and targets?
  • Are these goals and targets easy to achieve? Think about the resources at your disposal and the current climate of your industry
  • Do your goals align with your marketing strategy?

The result? Marketing clarity.

Don’t just identify the positives, tackle the gaps in your strategy and make it known where you think you can do better. At the end of this process, you want to be in possession of a realistic strategy that has the strongest possibility of producing meaningful results.

Lucy Perrott, Nordic Morning’s Marketing Manager, broke down three areas to focus on when auditing your marketing strategy:

1. Your audience. Did you reach them? Did they engage? Will they return? I recommend gauging the temperature through audience data on your priority social media channel (new audience follows, demographics, engagement rate), and also in your marketing CRM if you use one (conversion onsite into your drip emails). This’ll help build a picture of whether your message is landing well with your buyer personas or if you need to adjust and try again.

2. Your brand voice. How are you communicating your brand's mission and vision? More practically, how do you live your brand day to day? Auditing your content footprint online has never been more accessible. Monitor where your brand personality comes to life i.e, your social channels. Google Analytics is there for you; performance indicators will always be a channel of acquisition, read time, and goal completion. This helps you to understand the quality of the interaction and the next step in the buyer journey, rather than focusing on volume of hits on the blog. Other recommended tools to help you keep your content relatable include Google Trends, Moz, and Answer the Public.

3. Your watering holes. Yes, this sounds very 'marketing', but how often do you audit where you believe your audience to be hanging out? Ask them where they read up on the latest news in their industry and build out your personas accordingly. This is how you build relationships with similar publications and test this for yourself. You'll also kick yourself if you don't audit your social channels to make sure your personas really are using Tik Tok or if you're implementing a strategy here in vain.

For me, coming back to the data will never grow old and is imperative to a marketing strategy rooted in your market's behaviors.

Ultimately, your KPIs are unique to your own brand. Direct your measurements according to those, but approach an audit with a bigger lens. Lift the hood on some of your marketing fundamentals in order to build a clearer picture of where your marketing team should channel their efforts for the oncoming quarter.

Marketing technology

Another crucial element that needs identifying is your current marketing technology. Also known as MarTech, this term simply consists of the solutions that are needed to help you achieve your marketing goals. Are you sure you’re using the right tools that meet your marketing ambitions? To make this easier, identify your most challenging pain points that are or could prevent your organization from gaining a better understanding of your customer experiences.

Tap into the mindset, for each audit, that it’s time to shake up your marketing by creating growth, and delivering tomorrow’s customer experience. Put marketing tools to good use and identify gaps in the user journey. From here, you’ll be able to share the right messages, at the right time, and in the right context for customers.

However, these tools won’t work in isolation nor without a robust content strategy. To work effectively, these insights should flow freely across your various digital services and digital marketing activities to deliver higher optimization and deeper personalization.

Gathering information and data about your audience is crucial in getting to know how they’re interacting with and experiencing your brand. But as we’ll get to know, it’s not necessarily about how much data you have.

Nordic Morning Client Director, Martin Björklund, explains this further:

The aim of the game is the same as it’s always been, know your customers! With the MarTech stack that’s currently out there, we have much better possibilities to do just that (know our customers).

Build your brand so the customers trust you and make sure you get the proper consent, with the right intent, from your customers.

This will lead to you knowing your customers better and enables you to use your MarTech stack to know what your customer wants and meet their needs at the right time. Adobe has a really good tech stack for the whole customer journey, but we usually work with the tools that the client provides us with and then complement with the tools that might be lacking.

In short, do what you’ve always done, just be better at it. Collect all relevant data, know your customers, act on data and provide tailor-made suggestions to the customers, and sell more.

Gathering the necessary data

SEO and paid media

The combination of data and content is extremely powerful for your digital growth. Combining, for example, data from SEO, paid media, and UX together with marketing and content production is particularly effective. Why? Because it creates the opportunity to work with both AI and machine intelligence. The goal is to serve not only personalized content, but the right content—at the right time—for specific users peeking in through your digital shop window. If executed correctly, you’ll see the improvements needed in the areas of your marketing’s relevance, performance, and efficiency.

Rickard Broberg is Head of SEO & Paid Media and Nordic Morning. He kicks things off by asking one simple question:

Is the right data being collected?

For a digital marketing audit of SEO and paid media, the most crucial things for a marketing manager to think about include the market, the customers, and the data around them. The data you collect needs to give your company the best insights, as well as set the best-connected strategy, to enable you to serve your customers with the best creative content at the right time and in the right channels in the media mix. Success in this leads to being able to produce a happy customer experience that will trigger emotions and a positive feel for your brand that then will lead to a conversion. Remember, SEO can boost paid media, which in turn, can help test for long-term SEO.

To get this data, you need to use a set of tools and combine the insights into a strategy. Tools that’ll be helpful to find this data and reach your desired insights include ahrefs, Google Search Console, Keyword Planner, Keywordtool.io, Answer the Public, and My Telescope among others.

To get the most performance out of SEO and paid media combined, you need to first align on the basics.

Ask yourself, what keywords are getting a low-quality score and can be improved in ads if you optimize the landing page with SEO? Is our content suffering from keyword cannibalization?

You need to see an SEO and paid media audit as one search strategy, where dynamic creative can be created, along with personalized content from data and search queries, with machine intelligence and AI, to take your marketing activities to the next level.

Analytics

Data is only as good as the value that comes out of it. And that’s where analytics plays an essential role in helping us to make sense of the data. It's vitally important to plan analytics well. To achieve this, you must:

  • Implement it properly
  • Integrate the data with other meaningful dataset to get rid of silos
  • Visualize it well to secure good data usability across the organization.

That said, your data becomes truly valuable only after you have put it into use. Ask questions, analyze, do insights, automate, and truly change your business based on it.

Here are the thoughts of Nordic Morning’s Director of Competence and Insight, Mira Mäkiranta. Mira is big on planning when it comes to analytics. Lots of data can be great, but finding the value in it is everything:

Getting data is so easy that you can get online measurement or surveys rolling almost just by pushing a single button. The biggest challenge today is not the amount of data (more of it flows in every second of the day), it’s rather the quality and management of that said data.

Often, organizations try to solve the problem by pushing all their client and sales data into a huge data lake, but without a proper plan, or a data strategy, they easily end up drowning in an even larger swamp of unorganized, mediocre quality and unactionable information.

Think of the situation in terms of champagne (I love a good metaphor): If we received a bottle of good champagne and we had three hours to work with, we would most likely enjoy it, responsibly. Added value! If we got a truckload of champagne, that same 3 hours would be spent to arrange the storing for the champagne, and maybe booking a delivery company to move the load from our company hallway to the storage. No added value yet, only costs for managing the delicacies.

It’s not about limiting the amount of data, more that we simply need to plan it better, thereby ensuring it’s quality, consumed in the right way, and at the right time.

Creating meaningful experiences

UX design

When it comes to user experience (UX), success comes from adaptability. Are you catering for a multi-device approach? What solutions can the technology you have access to provide, not only in terms of meeting needs, but also in motivating customers to come back and remain loyal? It’s important to start or continue to create place-specific interaction points so you can deliver content when it’s most relevant to the user.

Filip Rafstedt is an Art Director at Nordic Morning. He describes how user experience design is more than just what’s on the screen.

UX design should be used to understand users and their goals to improve the experience of a service or product—always with the end user, and the brand promise, in mind. It’s highly important to identify every point of contact that will affect the experience, and to understand what prior knowledge the users have as well as what they’ll leave with. Be both rational and emotional in your process.

UX design goes beyond the screen. A customer journey can begin almost anywhere: with a Google search, a phone call to support, a TV commercial, a post on social media, an instruction manual, a newsletter, and everything in between. UX design is a never-ending process. It’ll affect how the user interacts with your product and how the product is working. When working with UX design, everything is in beta; it’ll never be done. For me, it’s a constant evaluation, learning, and improvement that’s both analytical and creative.

Service design and development

Are you leading your business into tomorrow with design-led thinking? This is where the importance of service design and development comes into play. To ensure you’re delivering the utmost value to both your customers, particularly from a design perspective, you need to embrace a human-centered approach.

When it comes to auditing your service design, André Dahl, our resident UI (user experience) and Service Design expert, has got something to say about consistency.

As an UI Designer, my most insightful tip is to ensure a consistent visual and user-experience regardless of touchpoint. Consistency ensures that your brand is recognizable across all channels, digital and analog.

To achieve consistency, I’d recommend looking into design thinking as a methodology. It aligns people, process, and places. Look at it from the customer’s point of view! Conduct a design audit, assess what needs to go, what can stay, and what needs updating.

It’s a huge decision, but it can offer a fresh start for your design system and brand.

Create or update your design system from a user-centred perspective, and embrace accessibility.

This includes visual, interactive, and verbal aspects of your user-experience. Accessibility often enhances usability and results in a more intuitive user-experience.

As for design tools to have firmly on your radar, I’d recommend Sketch or Figma, and then Zeplin as the tool for handover between design and development.

Carl Schéle is our Team Lead for Development at Nordic Morning. Here’s what he has to say on your approach to your development audit:

It's important to have a system that is flexible, scalable, secure, and easy to maintain.

It should be easy to find developers that can refine the system and keep a low-tech debt. At Nordic Morning, we work with Umbraco, Epi and Wordpress to get the job done.

Content

Your content represents the words that are spoken by your united brand voice. It’s just as big a part of the user experience as the design. You should give just as much importance in what you say as how you say it. Tonality can be a big miss when it comes to brand messaging, and even the smallest tweaks can lead to big impact when a customer digests your words.

For Mark Shakhovskoy, Head of Content at Nordic Morning, quality is at the heart of your content offering:

Quality over quantity, and quality over everything. That can mean a lot of different things depending how you look at it, but the easiest guidepost is to ask yourself, "is my content delivering on my target audiences' expectations?" For macro, that's your entire content strategy and content marketing mix. For micro, it can be about analyzing quality through much more focused lenses. For example, is every piece of content (touchpoint) in this customer journey executing the way it should in terms of fulfilling the promises and expectations of the reader/viewer in each stage?

Does the sum of all touchpoints make for a seamless and natural journey for the individual?

To make it simple: let's say you have a social media post that’s activating a particular content asset, and the CTA (call to action) of that post is "Find out how!", and then the asset doesn't answer the ‘how’. Now both touchpoints aren't fulfilling on expectations, and therefore aren't quality content. On the reverse side of this, type into your preferred choice of search engine, "how to increase time on page on my blog" and I guarantee everything on the first page of results contains content that answers this exact question and matches the search intent of the query. That's the sort of weight search engine giants such as Google are putting towards quality content over everything else.

What tools and processes do we use at Nordic Morning to increase the quality of content? Everything we can get our hands on. This includes, best practice SEO tactics guided by our Owned Team, channel and individual content piece analytics with tools such as ContentSquare from our Analytics Team, and qualitative insights and trends from our UX and Service Design Team to name just a few.

Good research leads to a great experience

Trends and change will forever be on the horizon. Getting your marketing resources and activities in shape to face their arrivals is one astute way to truly stay prepared and ahead of the game. Conducting timely audits valuably supports your marketing efforts in learning how to take more control of customer journeys. Thoroughly researching the marketing areas we’ve covered in this blog, you’ll get a better understanding of how your own people experience your brand and deliver your services. Remember, you can never be too prepared.

Ready to audit and improve the performance of your brand’s digital marketing?

Get in touch with Nordic Morning today.